Michael Setterdahl from Nucor, the chairman of the traders’ committee, stated that traders are now increasingly seeing more regionalization in trade. According to traders at the IREPAS meeting, billet trade to North Africa is quiet, while demand coming from the Persian Gulf region has remained strong and Asian billet demand is mostly met by Russia’s Far East. Traders expressed their concerns regarding the negative impact of international sanctions against Iran on the steel trade and also regarding the political upheaval in Syria which has also caused trade to slow down in this region.
Discussing the steel futures contract markets, some traders pointed out the gap between the LME billet price and the market price, concluding that futures contracts for steel are still young and need time to deepen. Mr. Setterdahl told the attendees that Turkey has increased its steel exports in recent years and that this good performance is expected to continue. Another issue discussed by the IREPAS traders’ committee was the rise in costs for Chinese steel production, a factor which, the traders said, makes it more difficult to predict whether China will increase its steel exports in the coming period or otherwise.